As megabus turns 20, Richard Sharman continues his look at the inter-city operator, this time turning to its more recent operations
A lot can happen in 20 years’ worth of express coach travel. The Scottish side of the business has already been covered in Jonathan Welch’s recent feature on the CityLink and megabus joint venture, whilst we covered the UK start up and international operations in issue 1588. In part two, we look at some of the significant changes which have been undertaken in recent years, mainly down to the coronavirus pandemic, but let’s look at operations in the lead up to an uneasy few years first.
A period of change
The story recommences in January 2017. Whilst the company’s UK operations continued to go from strength to strength, with more towns and cities being served than ever, it was the European coach services that fell under the spotlight at the start of the year.
As a quick recap, megabus had sold its European coach services to FlixBus in July 2016, with Stagecoach continuing to provide services under contract to FlixBus from its depots in Belgium, Germany and Italy. UK to Europe services continued to be operated by Stagecoach Midlands’ Rugby depot, with the original left hand drive fleet gaining FlixBus vinyls by this point.
By the end of August 2016, FlixBus reduced Stagecoach’s involvement in its former European services, and had informed the UK group that all of its branded inter-city coach services from its European depots were no longer required. The cross-channel services operated from the UK to Europe ended on 10 April 2017. With all these changes, it is worth noting for the record that megabus services within the UK were not affected, as Stagecoach operated them wholly on a commercial basis with no involvement from FlixBus.[…]
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